According to a report in today’s SMH, Prime Minister’s approval rating amongst men is sinking faster than an Asylum seeker’s leaky boat. But is it because she’s a woman, or because of her policies?
It sounds like a loaded question. In today’s modern age of equality (in name, if not function), of course the PM’s gender shouldn’t play a role in how he or she does the job. But according to the Herald’s analysis, men are most dissatisfied with the PM’s performance, even though the female voters are unimpressed as well.
In March, Ms Gillard’s approval rating among men moved into negative territory. Since then, male voters’ confidence in her has had a sustained slide; now, for every male who approves of her, there are two who disapprove. In the latest poll, 65 per cent of men disapprove of her performance and 31 per cent approve. It was the fifth consecutive poll in which Ms Gillard has attracted these sorts of numbers.
Women have also turned on the PM this year, but they were slower to abandon her. They held on until June before becoming dissatisfied. Even so, Ms Gillard can still count on a higher proportion of female than male voters to support her.
While the Herald doesn’t go so far as to question whether it is the PM’s sex that sees men becoming more dissatisfied by her performance, the act of breaking down the poll results into sex raises the question anyway, whether the article meant to or not. Especially when the article does nothing to question why male voters satisfaction is dropping faster than female voters.
In a country that celebrates the equality of women and is celebrating its first female Prime Minister, surely this kind of article does little more than undermine the real issues surrounding the PM’s lost approval rating – her policies, from the Carbon tax to her plans for offshore processing for asylum seekers.